Friday, May 29, 2009

Hillsong United Concert

Had the pleasure of going to the Hillsong United Concert in Alpharetta on Wednesday night. It was a very refreshing, worshipful evening! Loved being there with Jordan and worshiping together.

God has been talking to me lately about fruit, and how fruit comes from application of His Truth - faithfulness to do what He's called me to do, not just 'know' what He's called me to know. I'm recalling a morning when God revealed to me, via my life verse (Proverbs 3:5-6),
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
that when He talked about knowing or acknowledging, it's usually referring to an intimate knowledge - from a relationship, from experience, not head-knowledge or even a slight nod of our chin to signal that we're getting the idea. It's about the truth sinking into my heart, and then it has the ability to 'make my paths straight.'

And I have to ask myself the question, what am I doing with all that He has shown me and given me? Am I being faithful? Or am I just being 'thoughtful' - thinking and pondering and striving to gain understanding that can truly only come from stepping out and doing the thing that He's put before me. I am terribly analytical - really need to find a balance in that! God has been helping me with this, but there is definitely still a lot of that going on.

I wonder if trust ever involves analyzing? Because that is where I want to to say, as Mary did, "may it be to me as you have said." (Luke 1:38).

I've been slowly making my way through a book called "Having a Mary Spirit" by Joanna Weaver. It's been challenging me to really face how much I give into my flesh, into my feelings, and letting that dictate what I do or don't do...what I say or don't say. And to bring me back to the 'knowledge' - the intimate knowing in my heart - that I have the power of the Holy Spirit inside of me - the same power that raised Christ from the grave! There is no truthful reason why I should be letting a bad attitude and other trivial circumstances dictate my actions and words. I am praying that God will continue to show me how to access this power more and more.

But I know a piece of it is obedience - again, being willing to step out and put feet to my faith - to do what He's called me to do - being patient when I'd rather be frustrated, to be gentle when I'd rather yell, to forgive when I'm rather sulk and be offended, to pray when I'm scared instead of backing up, etc., etc. It's not able the 'big' stuff right now - about feeling led to go to Africa and being scared out of my mind as to what that would look like, or even being willing to stay in GA when I'd have rather been in FL with all my friends. Right now, it's about my ability to, through the Holy Spirit, to restrain myself, and let Jesus live His life through me, every day of my life. For people to stop seeing Jenny...and Jenny to stop worrying about making anything of herself, and people to start seeing Jesus.

There's a quote in this book, which made me laugh out loud and I totally agreed with -
she was talking about how God will give you direction or a glimpse of what He's up to, and she (and me) have a tendency to run ahead and insert our own method.

"When you run ahead of Me, you end up doing what I've asked you to do in your own strength rather than Mine. Instead of being cloaked in the sweetness of My Spirit, your efforts are cloaked in your flesh. And sometimes, my dear daughter, your flesh ain't that easy to receive."

Amen! I'm sure we've all experienced being on the other end of it - but I'm recognizing more and more how much I'm the issue as well.

"I(God) delight in a heart that welcomes My work rather than resents it. A willing, teachable spirit is all I'm looking for. A life so surrendered to Me, I can do My work unhindered."

*emphasis added by me

Do I value, do we value, willingness enough? It's easy to admire talents and knowledge and strength...but what about just having a willingness to trust God enough in spite of our lack of whatever is needed to step out anyways, knowing that He is sufficient - and really it's Him doing the work in us regardless - if it's going to be of value. Can I get past my fear of what others will think and just follow Him, trusting Him with the results?

I thinks so often I read things about believers struggling with making something of themselves in a showy, 'look at me' way - and learning to really give God the glory and the front seat on things. But what about people like me, who would much rather be hidden in the crowd and not seen - what happens when God calls us to do something, to say something, that will draw attention to ourselves? Can we learn to trust Him and be obedient, to not worry what others will think of us, and just let Him use us as a vessel? That's what I struggle with...and I think deep down, it's the same core issue...just needing to keep our eyes on Jesus and be more concerned with pleasing Him than other people - whether we're trying to make a name for ourselves, or keeping our name hidden - because really, our name is His now. Our life is no longer our own, to build or stay hidden. We are to find that delightful balance in knowing our worth because we're children of God, but being more concerned about making sure people know Christ's worth!

Anyways, that was quite a tangent...this is what happens when I write without a clear purpose in mind!

another great quote from this book about Gladys Aylward - a missionary to China -

"Gladys once said, 'I wasn't God's first choice for what I've done for China...I don't know who it was...It must have been a man...a well-educated man. I don't know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn't willing...And God looked down...and saw Gladys Aylward..And God said - 'Well, she's willing.'"

Kind of changes my perspective on willingness....

According to 1 Peter, God has equipped us for all that we need for life and godliness - all that He desires to accomplish in our lives - so, that means all we really have to ever be is willing...willing to be obedient, willing to surrender to His plans (not necessarily our own), willing to wait when we'd rather be making 'progress,' willing to be quiet when we want to be asking questions and making suggestions (which are really subtle dictations anyways), willing to just trust Him enough to let Him lead the way.

I guess that probably has my own little slant on it...maybe it's easy for you to be willing in these areas, but harder in others - regardless, I think it's pretty awesome that all we're responsible for is our willingness. And even that He gives us when we ask for it. We just have to be willing to apply it. :)

"Lord, create in me a clean heart, and renew a steadfast, willing spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

Fruit - the application of the Truth of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, available for others to see and taste and get hungry for the things of God.

May we live fruitful lives that give people a taste of something they can't get enough of, and a craving to find what they're missing out on!

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